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they have been, hitherto, unable to procure that security for their Property, which they see, the rest of their Fellow-Citizens enjoy. A prejudice in part arising from the frequent Piracies, (as they are called) committed by Members of their own Body. But such kind of Members no Body is without. And it would be hard that this should be turned to the discredit of the honest part of the profession, who suffer more from such injuries than any other men. It hath, in part too, arisen from the clamours of profligate Scriblers, ever ready, for a piece of Money, to prostitute their bad sense for or against any Cause prophane or sacred; or in any Scandal public or private: These meetig with little encouragement from Men of accour in the Trade, (who even in this enlightened Ag are not the very worst Judges or Rewarders of me) apply themielves to People of Condition; and fuort their imprwärtuäties boy false complaints against Bkseller anden
But I should now, perhaps, rather think of my own Apology, than busy myself in the defence of others. I İhall have some Tartuffe ready, on the first appearance of this Edition, to call out again, and tell me, that I suffer myself to be wholly diverted from my purpose by these matters less suitable to my clerical Profesion. "Well, but says a Friend, why not take so candid
an intimation in gond part? Withdraw yourself,
again, as you are bid, into the clerical Pale; exa" mine the Records of sacred and prophane Anti" quity; and, on them, erect à Work to the con“ fusion of Infidelity.” Why, I have done all this, and more: And hear now what the same Men have said to it. They tell me, I have wrote to the wrong and injury of Religion, and furnished out more handles for Unbelievers. • Oh now the secret's out; and you
may have your pardon, I find upon easier terms, "'Tis only, to write no more.”—Good Gentlemen! and shall I not oblige chem? They would glad
ly obstruct my way to those things which every Man, who endeavours well in his Profession, must needs think he has some claim to, when he sees them given to those who never did endeavour ; at the same time that they would de!er me from taking those advantages which Letters enable me to procure for myself. If then I am to write no more; (tho' as much out of my Profeslion as they may please to represent this work, I suspect their modesty would not insist on a scrutiny of our several Applications of this prophane profit and their purer gains) if, I say, I am to write no more, let me at least give the Public, who have a better pretence to demand it of me, some reason for my presenting them with these amusements, which, if I am not much mistaken, may be excused by the best arx faireit Examples ; and, what is more, may be justified on the furer reason of things.
The great Saint CHRYSOSTOK, a pame consecrated to immortality by his Virtue and Eloqueness is known to have been so fond of Aristophanes as to wake with him at his Studies, and to sleep with him under his pillow : and I never heard that this was objected either to his Piety or his Preaching, not even in those times of pure Zeal and primitive Religion. Yet, in respect of Shakespear's great sense, Aristophanes's best wit is but buffoonry; and, in comparison of Aristophanes's Freedonis, Shakespear writes with the purity of a Vestal, But they will say, St. Chryfoftom contracted a fondness for the comic Poet for the sake of his Greek. To this, indeed, I have nothing to reply. Far be ic from me to insinuate so unscholarlike a thing, as if We had the same Use for good English that a Greek had for his Attick elegance. Critic Kuster, in a taste and language peculiar to Grammarians of a certain order, hath decreed, that the History and Chronology of Greek Word's is the most SOLID entertainment of a Man of Letters.
Ify, then, to a higher Example, much nearer home, and still more in point, The famous University of OxFORD. This illustrious Body, which hath long to justly held, and, with such equity, dispensed, the chief honours of the learned World, thought good Letters so much interested in correct Editions of the best English Writers, that they, very lately, in their public Capacity, undertook one, of this very Author, by subscription. And if the Editor hath not not difcharged his Talk with suitable abilities for one so much honoured by them, this was not their fault but his, who thrust himself into the employment. After such an example, it would be weakening any defence to seek further for Authorities. All that can be now decently urged is the reason of ibe thing ; and this I fall do, more for the sake of that truly venerable Body than my own.
Of all the literary exercitations of speculative Men, whether designed for the use or entertainment of the World, there are none of so much importance, or what are more of our immediate concern, than those which let us into the knowledge of our Nature. Others may exercise the Reason or amuse the Imagination; but these only can improve the Heart, and form the human Mind to Wisdom. Now, in this Science, our Shakespear is confessed to occupy the foremost place ; whether we consider the amazing sagacity with which he inveltigates every hidden spring and wheel of human Action ; or his happy manner of communicating this kaowledge, in the just and living paintings which he has given us of all our Passions, Appetites and Purfuits. These afford a leffon which can never be too often repeated, or too constantly inculcated: And, to engage the Reader's due aitention to it, hath been one of the principal objects of this Edition.
As this Science (whatever profound Philosophers may think) is, to the relt, in Things; so, in Words, (whatever supercilious Pedants may talk) every one's
mother tongue is to all other Languages. This hath still been the Sentiment of Nature and true Wisdom. Hence, the greatest Men of Antiquity never though themselves better employed than in cultivating their own country idiom. So Lycurgus did honour to Sparia in giving the first compleat Edition of Homer; and Cicero, to Rome, in correcting the Works of Lucretius. Nor do we want Examples of the same good sense in modern Times, even amidst the cruel inroads that Art and Fashion have made upon Nature and the fimplicity of Wisdom. Menage, the greatest name in France for all kinds of philologic Learning, prided himself in writing critical Notes on their best lyric Poet, Malherbe : And our greater Selden, when he thought it might reflect Credit on his Country, did not dirdain even to comment a very ordinary Poet, one Michael Drayton. But the English tongue, at this Juncture, deserves and demands our particular regard. It hath,, by means of the many excellent Works of different kinds composed in it, engaged the notice, and become the study, of almost every curious and learned Foreigner, so as to be thought even a part of literary accomplishment. This must needs make it deserving of a critical attention: And its being yet destitute of a Test or Standard to apply to, in cases of doubt or difficulty, shews how much it wants that attention. For we have neither GRAMMAR nor DictioNARY, neither Chart nor Compass, to guide us through this wide sea of Words. And indeed how should we ? fioce both are to be composed and finished on the Authority of our best established Writers. But their Authority can be of little use cill the Text hath been correctly settled, and the Phraseology critically examined. As, then, by these Aids, a Grammar and Dillionary, planned upon the best rules of Logic and Philosophy, (and none but such will deserve the name) are to be procured; the forwarding of this will be a general concern: For, as Quintijan observes, “ Verborum pro
“ prietas ac differentia omnibus, qui fermonem curæ “ habent, debet effe communis.” By this way, the Italians have brought their tongue to a degree of Purity and Stability which no living Language ever attained unto before. It is with pleasure I observe, that these things now begin to b- understood amongst ourselves; and that I can acquaint the Public, we may soon expect very elegant Editions of Fleicher and Milton's Paradise Lost from Gentlemen of distinguished Abilities and Learning. But this Interval of 'good sense, as it may be short, is indeed but new. For I remember to have heard of a very learned Man, who, not long since, formed a design of giving a more correct Edition of Spenser ; and, without doubt, would have performed it well; but he was dissuaded from his purpose by his Friends, as beneath the dignity of a Professor of the occult Sciences.
Yet these very Friends, I suppose, would have thought it had added luftre to his high Station, to have new-furbished out some dull northern Chronicle, or dark Sibylline Ænigma. But let it not be thought that what is here faid inlinuates any thing to the discredit of Greek and Latin criticism. If the follies of particular Men were sufficient to bring any branch of Learning into disrepute, I don't know any that would stand in a worse situation than that for which I now apologize. For I hardly think there ever appeared, in any learned Language, so execrable a heap of nonsense, under the name of Commentaries, as hath been lately given us on a certain satiric Poet, of the last Age, by his Editor and Coadjutor.
I am sensible how unjustly the very best classical Critics have been treated. It is said, that our great Philosopher spoke with much contempt of the two finest Scholars of this Age, Dr. Bentley and Bishop Hare, for squabbling, as he expres-d it, about an old Playbook; meaning, I suppose, Terence's Comedies. But this story is unworthy of him; tho' well enough suit